New Cattlemen's Beef Board Chair Anne Anderson Says Research and Outreach Key to FutureMon, 01 Feb 2016 18:05:05 CST
The new chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board touts the value and importance of the nation’s beef checkoff. Anne Anderson, a cattle producer from Austin, Texas, believes the industry needs the beef checkoff to promote, as well as stand up against the attacks to the protein source. For more than 25 years, the beef checkoff has supported beef promotion, education and research. She said the checkoff has been crucial in funding research to show the nutritional value of beef, as well as taking on the cholesterol fight, the cancer fight and most recently the development of the nation’s dietary guidelines. She said all of those have needed the research from the industry and she wonders where beef would be right now, without these efforts.
Promoting the beef industry requires a team effort. Anderson said it starts with the producer leaders that serve on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board that provide the plan, direction and allocate the funding for research, promotion and educational efforts. The board works with contractors to carry out that plan, such as the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). The next important component is the message to the consumer. Anderson said there isn’t a conduit to the individuals that are making the rules or policy. That’s why it’s important to have relationships with producer organizations, like the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) to carry that message to the individuals making those decisions.
Today’s beef checkoff efforts look different today, then even just a few years ago. In making the switch to digital promotion, Anderson said that was a big leap of faith for the operating committee that made that decision to move from traditional media outlets to online advertising. She said that was difficult, because those are the outlets that are the most visible. While it was a major change, she said it was very worthwhile. This was an important switch in order to reach the millennial generation. Anderson said this generation wants to know where their product comes from. That requires cattle producers to get involved in talking with consumers.
“So, the checkoff can no longer be the end all that delivers the message,” Anderson said. “It can provide the data, provide the message, but now producers are going to have to deliver it, which is a new ball game, an even greater change that we are facing. But every producer has the responsibility for communicating to those people that want to know where their product comes from and what it’s like to live on a ranch and how do you treat your animals.”
The beef checkoff has funded and created a producer educational program called the Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA). The MBA program was designed to get producers more comfortable in delivering the message to consumers. Anderson said outreach is important to reach parents and children at a young age, because most kids have formed their eating habits by middle school.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays also talks with Anderson about the importance of the beef checkoff in funding human nutrition research, sustainability and she provides her goals as CBB Chairman for 2016.
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